Id’s Tim Willits Backs “Always On” Diablo 3

By Jim Rossignol on August 10th, 2011 at 8:16 pm.


Id’s lead design chap, Tim Willits, has been talking to Eurogamer about the “always on” thing. He said this: “Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected. If you have a juggernaut, you can make change. I’m all for that. If we could force people to always be connected when you play the game, and then have that be acceptable, awesome. In the end, it’s better for everybody.” Everybody except those people who aren’t online for whatever reason.

“Imagine picking up a game and it’s automatically updated. Or there’s something new you didn’t know about, and you didn’t have to click away. It’s all automatically there. But it does take juggernauts like [Diablo 3] to make change. I’m a big proponent of always connected. I’m always connected. Our fans are always connected.”

Except when they’re not, eh? I think he’s right about Diablo III being unstoppable, but it’s not going to make it any less annoying or intrusive. Also, I totally love it when an app or game I click on tells me to hang on for a moment, because it has to update before I can use it. That’s super, really. Great stuff.

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437 Comments »

  1. Sigvatr says:

    What if I want to play it on my laptop on the train? :(

    • ZIGS says:

      You’re shit outta luck

    • Askeladd says:

      You’ll be the only human that is not connected to the matrix.

      I hope you save my ass when it comes to that.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Boardgames, bitches!

    • wisnoskij says:

      Then obvious you are not someone that Id or Blizzard care about.

    • Pardoz says:

      Crack it. (Of course if you’re going to have crack it to make it playable, there’s no point in wasting your hard-earned on it – buy something good with the money instead. Or donate the equivalent of the price to your favourite worthy cause.)

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Hey, if you’re going to have to crack it anyway.. er.. nevermind. I said nothing.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      “Then obvious you are not someone that Id or Blizzard care about.”

      Exactly. Blizzard has an idea about what they want Diablo III to be–an MMO–and they don’t really care about what longtime fans might want or scenarios in which a potential customer might not be able to use their product.

      Whereas other entertainment industries–such as TV or film–strive to make products that would please and are accessible to as many people as possible (which has its own problems, don’t get me wrong) the video games industry is driven by companies that demand that customers follow their instructions and “tsk-tsk” our shameful free-will (see Bioware’s response to Dragon Age 2′s reception).

    • James says:

      @Drinking with Skeletons

      Exactly.

    • jonfitt says:

      But how can you possibly buy in game items from the Blizzard store if you’re on a train and not connected? You’ll be unable to buy things!

    • Fierze says:

      In norway we got internetz on our trains ;) And busses, and planes :P Diablo is gonna be played everywhere :D

    • Carra says:

      Modern countries have internet on the train.

      Where do you live, africa? :)

    • JFS says:

      I don’t think so. Which countries do really have that? Norway is ridiculously rich, it isn’t the best example. I don’t know about the US, but for example in Germay, we have some WLAN hotspots in Intercity Express trains, but by far not in all (most of the time the air condition doesn’t even work, so…). Normal trains don’t have internet. According to Wikipedia, we’re the tenth most developed country of the world. Africa, huh?

    • SpakAttack says:

      Internet on trains in the UK is buggy and shit.

    • malkav11 says:

      As far as I know there’s no internet on any passenger rail in America. The bus company I occasionally use for interstate transit has finally put wifi on some (all? dunno) of their busses, but it’s super slow and shitty and certainly wouldn’t be usable for online gaming more complex than MUDs. I don’t know about the other, bigger bus company (Greyhound) but probably it’s the same at best. Local transit certainly doesn’t have anything of the kind.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Carra

      “Modern countries have internet on the train.”

      Further proof America is no longer modern.

    • Xighor says:

      Here in Poland I haven’t seen any train with internet connection and I’m in a train about 4-6 times/month. Alhtough some sources claim that such trains exist.
      Well, Poland is 3 world’s country for many people anyway. ;P

    • Whitechip says:

      @Askeladd
      I love you.

    • TurquoiseTail says:

      Australia here, no internet on trains for that matter…..

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    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Norway and Europe in general has internet, great now how about you think about a country that takes more space in a mapamundi than the head of a pin, here in Mexico we have internet everywhere but its kind of expensive and it not really that stable outside of the cities, (I kinda live far from the main servers).
      So, yeah its piracy for us then, a shame a lot of my friends got Starcraft 2 and we where looking to play Diablo 3 online.

    • Harkkum says:

      From a Finns points of view this entire debacle of always-on seems silly. Even mobile internet connections are stable enough, and, indeed, you have your free internet connection on trains. I think that rather than blame the game companies for demanding that we have a stable connection why not turn to your local internet provider and ask for an explanation.

      If a country with three reindeer and two people living in it can do it, shouldn’t it be all that much easier for those places where someone actually lives in?

    • oddshrub says:

      Trains and Busses have wireless internet in Denmark as well.

      To be frank I think the last research I saw on the subject said that around 92% of all our households had broadband, and that was like 10 years ago. Today there you even have mobile internet from your phone which you can hotspot when you’re not in an area with free wireless.

      Sometimes I think Scandinavia should just leave the rest of 3rd world Yurop behind!

    • qrter says:

      I think that rather than blame the game companies for demanding that we have a stable connection why not turn to your local internet provider and ask for an explanation.

      The ‘explanation’ will be something along the lines of “we’re doing GREAT! It MUST be something on your side” plus “you’re free to switch providers” (if your contract even allows that), but you the consumer knows that all providers provide the same service or worse. So your one option left is not have any internet connection at all, which just makes you disappear, as far as internet providers are concerned.

      Or , you know, the game companies could lose the arrogance, realise that not everyone is on the same technological level as they are, and recognise that it’s actually pretty normal to be able to play a singleplayer game without a constant internet connection.

    • cpy says:

      Where the hell do you live when you dont have 3G internet on trains? We have it on every train route, highways and major roads. So you can be online!

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Nalano: “@ Carra
      “Modern countries have internet on the train.”
      Further proof America is no longer modern.

      I’ll admit that the USA is behind many other countries in bandwidth and availability. However, I suggest this exercise to put it in perspective, because I know RPS is a Euro-Centric site and I don’t think y’all understand the infrastructure issues:

      Pull up Google Earth, and take a look at your favorite European or Southeast Asian country that has fantastic Internet access. Zoom in so the country fills the screen.

      Now, without zooming out, scroll over to the USA, and pan across the map. It’s a big country, people. The Internet access you get in the middle of Montana, isn’t the access you get in New York City. It’s not the same as building out infrastructure in a country like Denmark.

    • Optimaximal says:

      If a country with three reindeer and two people living in it can do it, shouldn’t it be all that much easier for those places where someone actually lives in?

      It’s much easier to fully cater for a country with a sparser population density…

    • Fierze says:

      USA still got higher population density than both norway and denmark so beeing a bigger country shouldnt mather.

    • Makariel says:

      @Internet in trains:
      AFAIK the legislation in Germany is such that if someone downloads or does anything illegal looking with your internet connection you can get fined and sued. Thus no company with sane management would provide free access to internet since they don’t want to get fined to Narnia. The couple of hotspots you find are very restricted (even stuff like steam is often blocked).
      In the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Italy there is no wifi on most trains either, only on high speed connections.

      edit:
      last time I used the ICE in Germany I couldn’t even find a plug to charge my laptop…

    • Kaira- says:

      @Harkkum

      It definetly doesn’t seem silly to me. I live in Oulu, 6th largest city in Finland, and to hope that my internet connection won’t drop even once or twice per month seems folly. And don’t even get me started on mobile internets, they don’t have coverage everywhere and are really, really prone to disconnect you from internet.

    • innociv says:

      These rich folk all have 4g on their laptops and can’t understand what sort of poor unfortunate soul doesn’t have all such “necessities”.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Zenicetus

      I’m aware that the European countries in question tend to be quite small. I’m also aware that Tim Willits is an American, which makes his statements doubly stupid.

      Also, I live in New York City, and even in the heart of urbanized civilization, broadband can be spotty. ‘Course, our infrastructure is aging…

    • Groove says:

      This puts me in a difficult position.

      I wasn’t going to buy Diablo anyway since I don’t like those types of games, but now I don’t want to buy it because you have to always be online.

      Voting with your wallet is hard when you weren’t paying beforehand.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’d also add that America barely has passenger rail, which I find enormously frustrating as busses are slow and unpleasant and cramped, and flying is fast, unpleasant and cramped and ridiculously expensive. Also, air travel is now full of utterly ridiculous “security” hassles that do nothing to make me more secure. But when many parts of America do not have passenger rail service and those that do have all of one train per day (all of which route through Chicago eventually), it’s only rarely practical.

    • Gargamel330 says:

      No but seriously, how *would* you play Diablo III on a plane or train? There’s no room for a mouse on those little tray tables! Are you actually able to play something so mouse-driven using the touchpad?

    • Synesthesia says:

      it’s amazing how this forget scompletely about people who dont live in first world countries, believe me, we play videogames too, when the vultures are not circling our heads or while we are on a foraging trip.

      I dont think a single southamerican country has 3g on the train, let alone a 5mbps connection for the onlive thingie. Rent servers for things like BFBC2 or now, BF3 are hosted very far away, giving us +300 ping for a service we pay, having to wait for EA to see if the clientbase is large enough to send a server southside. Most of the times, they send 2 or 3 to brazil, and have us fight over it.

      This is why i’m buying red orchestra. We need to support the ones that actually look after us, not the ones who throw us scraps of a service and a bunch of intrusive conditions, and then ask us to thank them for it.

      I dont even want to pirate this one. They can go suck a dick.

  2. killerkerara says:

    My cable goes out for the fourth time so far this month. What joy, I can no longer play any games! Why do I own a computer again?

    • Alextended says:

      Yeah, it’s like these people think everyone’s home is as high tech capable as the Blizzard offices. I might wanna live in the country, for the peace and quiet, that doesn’t make me a hillbilly who doesn’t play games. I’d love to have super fast, unlimited internet with no interruptions anywhere and everywhere I may find myself, but since that’s not the case for 90% of the world, I’d rather not have games that require it. Assuming they’re not multiplayer-only, that’s just dumb.

      More importantly, all the consumer benefits cited as part of this scheme, Steam and similar services manage to offer without actually making it a constant requirement (obviously leaving me without said benefits when I’m not connected). So why didn’t a journalist or whatever point that out? Even Diablo II had auto updating when you were actually connected online, requiring a permanent online connection isn’t related to any such benefits.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      ^ This.

      Presumably they think everyone has an industrial-strength huge mega-fat pipe tubing torrents of Internets directly in to every room in their house, and don’t give a toss about laptop-gamers. What a bunch of cocks.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I live in London, and basically my crappy ISP left me with a randomly disconnecting connection for about 2 weeks…”always on… except when suffering from ISP/game server/etc failures”

    • Baines says:

      My DSL went out over the weekend due to a broken wire, and it was days later before it was fixed.

      Thunderstorms can temporarily break DSL connections even if the storm isn’t particularly nearby.

      Also, I’m in the country, which means my internet options are limited and relatively low speed. My “high speed” options are pretty much what city dwellers get offered as the low budget “low speed” choice, but I’d have to pay “high speed” prices to get it. And developers only assume greater and greater connection speeds, leaving me behind the performance curb for pretty much my entire online life at home.

    • Kdansky says:

      I can hardly believe that every single ISP in your area is this bad. They do not all compete for the lowest price segment though…

      I’ll buy it, and I think it’s a terrific idea to ban single-player completely, because it will make the online-experience better. I can still write code on the train and read a book.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Kdansky

      I can believe it.

      There are basically two broadband providers on my tiny island. Time Warner and Verizon. Both have regular outages because of uneven maintenance. Both have highs and lows in terms of performance.

      My tiny island is Manhattan. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like out in the sticks.

    • Alextended says:

      Dude, what? Your preference for single or multi player doesn’t have anything to do with the topic. Like, at all. They didn’t “ban” (lol?) single player completely, they just made it so you have to be online to play it. That doesn’t in any way make the multi player better. Blizzard didn’t say “Diablo III is now an MMORPG, there’s no single player to speak of” (for which there would also be negative reactions by some, but for completely different reasons to the current reactions) they said “Diablo III requires an internet connection whether you play by yourself or not” and id here didn’t say “we wish we could make Doom 4 multi player only” they said “we love the concept of always online games, multi player or not”. That’s what people are against. For now. If in the future everyone has free 10G on every device everywhere in the world then an online connection requirement will be invisible and thus fine with everyone. Though even that would still leave practices like EA’s (where they shut down the servers of a few year old games) in question and thus the online connectivity would ideally still be optional.

    • malkav11 says:

      And there are certainly no people anywhere on the planet for whom singleplayer is as important or more important than the online experience, and who play computer games in significant part because they are an interactive medium that works -without- other people. Certainly not on this very site.

    • Kamos says:

      Yes… certainly not. Wanting to play a game where there are no other people, only an AI, is clearly deviant behavior. A crime, even.

    • Devan says:

      There are definitely valid arguments about Internet availability and reliability to be made, but I think there’s even more important reasons to oppose this kind of online requirement.

      Basically, it puts the customer in a situation where he has to rely on the ongoing service of others (both the publisher’s game servers and your ISP and everything in between) in order to use the product. That’s an inherent downside, because it’s adding factors that can render your purchase unusable.

      Services require upkeep, which requires ongoing money flow. Someone has to pay to maintain services, and they don’t last forever. Further, a service operator is well within his rights to deny that service to anyone; so aside from the possibility of not being able to use your product due to downtime or the service being shut down, but it could also happen just because they say so. Keep in mind that “they” could be anyone from the game publisher to your ISP, and the reason could be anything from account inactivity to bandwidth overage, or nothing at all.

      Of course that’s not likely to happen to any particular individual, but the fact that the dependency is there is a significant disadvantage. MMOs and other games that have no offline-capable content have no way to get around this disadvantage, and that’s fine. But when you take a game that does have single-player content and introduce this disadvantage as a requirement, that’s just unwarranted.

      Time to vote with your wallets.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Great post Devian, I say buy the game if you want it, but vote by downloading the inevitable crack which will allow the pirated copies to run without connecting. Sure you won’t get the benefits of the auction house but… wait, thats a plus too

    • Nalano says:

      @ Devan

      MMOs also have a pay model commensurate with their services. D3 is not an MMO.

  3. Makariel says:

    Another proponent of force-feeding gamers always on you say?

    • Trousers says:

      I dare say I am SHOCKED. Doesn’t Blizzard know that every gamer is living in their middle class parent’s basement?
      (Which, sadly (fortunately?) I am at the moment, but I realize there are also people out there with self respect that play games.)

    • Wulf says:

      Or, you know… in a part of the world where the Internet isn’t quite as developed. Such as say… Brazil, where I have a friend whose Internet isn’t as stable as mine. But hey! Don’t let facts like that get in the way of mad tirades. Filthy, dirty people who live in less developed parts of the world shouldn’t be allowed to play games, am I right? (Despite him being one of the most talented, funny, and civil gamers I’ve ever met.)

    • RF says:

      To me, this article’s title was, “Id’s Tim Willits Wants You Not To Buy Id’s Games”.

    • qrter says:

      Or what if you’re in the armed services? The military tends to hold a dim view of open internet connections, if even technically possible.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I read it as ““Id’s Tim Willits Wants The Next STALKER to be the Torchlight 2 of Shooter RPGs.”

  4. FriendlyFire says:

    “Imagine picking up a game and it’s automatically updated.”

    Wait, what is it that Steam does if not that? I prefer mobility over having an update 0.1923 seconds earlier.

    • WPUN says:

      “Imagine picking up a game where features and game items are automatically removed. Or there’s something new you don’t care about, and you have to ignore the latest ad from the in-game store. It’s all automatically shoved up your arse. But it does take juggernauts like [Diablo 3] to randomly destroy good game experiences. I’m a big proponent of always connected. I’m always connected. Our fans are always connected except the ones that are not – so they must not really be fans. Amirite?”

      There, fixed it.

    • Urthman says:

      Imagine trying to play a Steam game and being told, “Please wait while we force-feed you a 12 GB update.”

    • Casimir Effect says:

      I’m always torn as to whether I prefer the way Steam keeps everything up to date for me or the old days when I could apply patches at will.

      For example, I find patch 1.04 for Dragon Age makes the game slow down terribly after about an hours play but patch 1.03 was fine. Originally I had the game on disc but I got the Ultimate Edition in a Steam sale so now no longer have the choice, meaning I need to restart the game many times if I have a long session.

      I honestly think the old method would be better if developers and publishers were better at hosting the patches and thoroughly explaining what they did. It was often a pain to find the newest or intermediate patches, even looking on the developers website. Sometimes you just got sent to a Fileplanet link or some other site which demanded registration.

    • Carra says:

      To be fair, you can disable the Steam updates (right click on the game > properties)

    • qrter says:

      To be even more fair, Steam recently changed their system, so that you don’t need to redownload the whole game in case of some updates/patches, just the bits you actually need.

      More than a bit late, but still – they seem to have fixed that.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      Being able to disable Steam updates is ok but it needs a rollback patch or patch selection feature to be really useful. I understand a lot of it is to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to MP but then I hate all MP so reserve the right to be unjustifyably angry.
      Boo, Hiss n’ Shit!

  5. razgon says:

    Vote with your wallet people – thats all you can do.

    • Keymonk says:

      It’s funny because everyone’ll still get Diablo 3.

    • Fumarole says:

      I won’t be getting it with this restriction.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Enjoy your meaningless protest. You’re not even sending a distinct message from “I don’t like the game” or “I pirated the game instead” or “I don’t own a computer, what is a games”.

    • Nalano says:

      Not everyone, Key.

      I don’t care if I’m “sending a message,” LionsPhil. Why do you?

    • Wolfox says:

      I’ll not buy Diablo 3, much as I didn’t buy Starcraft 2 for the exact same reason. I’m all for having a better experience if I’m online. What I can’t agree with is not being able to have any experience AT ALL without being online.

    • Blackseraph says:

      I won’t be getting Diablo 3.

      And Lions how else are people supposed to tell blizzard that this is unaccebtable, they obviously don’t care about just words. And this protest would not be meaningless if enough people wouldn’t buy Diablo3 because of this say 2 or 3 million people. That would really get Blizzards attention.

      But of course that is vain dream because people are morons.

    • Derppy says:

      The sad fact is that it isn’t enough for people to vote with their wallets. It’s a simple fact that it sucks and nobody likes is, but people will just accept it, because they don’t want to miss the experience.

      I hate how gaming companies think they can beat piracy and decide to make the honest customers suffer. I’ll predict this game will be cracked and in top 5 most downloaded games of every single torrent tracker within a month or two of the release.

      Such a shame Blizzard went this route with Diablo 3. Blizzard and Valve are pretty much the only big companies I trust to always make quality products and be nice to PC gamers, but Blizzard is falling to EA/Ubisoft level with their recent Diablo 3 design decisions.

      I guess WoW makes so much money (Like 100 million each month?), that they can’t justify creating games without absolutely maximizing profits and getting steady income from them no matter how much the gamers hate it.

      Lets say over 6 years WoW has had 7 million subscribers on average and each paid 40$ for the game and expansions. I’ll round the monthly payment to 10$.

      That’s over 5 040 000 000 $, over five frikkin’ billion dollars. Similar sum would require quite a few sales from “traditional” games, even if every single gamer would pay 50$ for their copy, it would take 100 800 000 copies to reach similar sum.

      I’m willing to bet that has a major effect when they are planning on something that doesn’t have monthly fees and that leads to horrible decisions which piss on the fans.

    • Cyberwizard says:

      This is exactly what I am going to do. I was planning on getting Diablo 3 but now I’m not. Torchlight 2 will definitely fill that void for me. And if id adds it to Rage, I’ll have Serious Sam 3 and Hard Reset to play instead.

      And it’s not about protesting, LionsPhil. It’s about not giving my money to companies that pull this stuff. Will it stop them? Maybe, maybe not. But will I be playing a game that treats me like a criminal even though I paid for it? Nope.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you are not communicating to Blizzard that you are not buying Diablo 3 because of the DRM, it will not get Blizzard’s attention that it is losing sales because of DRM.

      Even if it sells poorly, which it won’t with that kind of brand power and the huge body of people who don’t know/don’t care/only find out after they bought it and have already given Blizzard their money, without communicating anything to Blizzard this is indistinguishable from it just being a bad game, or that PC gaming is dead due to pirates, or that action-RPGs are a dead genre and they should have made it a cover-based shooter.

      “Voting with your wallet” alone is not an effective way to try to enact change.

    • WPUN says:

      Who are these “wallet people” you keep talking about?

    • banski83 says:

      I dunno, a simple email explaining why you were going to buy the game, but have since decided not to after hearing about the always-on DRM might be a better way, or at least in addition to not actually handing over the money, might be the best way. Send a message by actually, y’know, sending a message?

    • Angel Dust says:

      While not buying Diablo 3 will probably not send Blizzard a message, buying Torchlight 2 or Grim Dawn instead, when you wouldn’t have before (this is what I’m going to do; I like a little bit of hack ‘n’ slash but one game is enough to tide me over for a while), will definitely send a message to those devs. I can see the likes of Runic Games getting some sales from all this, not enough to concern Blizzard but it’ll sure make a difference to Runic Games.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      It’s true, I’m unlikely to change Blizzard’s behavior by withholding money – but I can damn well make sure that money goes to companies making games I respect, and with business models that treat me fairly.

      By giving that money it to an indie developer (or several, given how much Blizz games cost these days) that makes games I actually want, I’ll do my part to ensure I have that choice in the future.

      Certainly sounds better to me than throwing up my hands and shouting “welp, guess I can’t do anything, may as well just give up”.

      Of course, this is easy for me because I have no fondness for the Diablo franchise, and prefer other games in the genre anyway (I’ll take any opportunity to mention Din’s Curse as a much smarter take on the whole idea). But I think the principle holds true – you can’t reliably change a corporation’s mind via punitive measures (piracy, boycotts), but if you save that money to use as positive reinforcement for a superior rival, you’ve done your part to improve the business space and give yourself better options as a whole.

      And what more could we hope for, really? If only we could have a similar impact on politics…

      EDIT: Angel Dust said it more concisely than me, really. Bravo! And I dunno how effective sending emails is, but it can’t hurt – I just doubt they’d get enough to care given the millions and millions of copies they’re still likely to sell. I think it’s a given they’ll win more sales by openly legitimizing gold and item farming than they will lose due to the DRM, for example.

    • James says:

      “Certainly sounds better to me than throwing up my hands and shouting “welp, guess I can’t do anything, may as well just give up”.”

      That feeling in the general public serves any group that is already established, especially when they have interests that don’t play well with your own interests.

      You always have a great many options in front of you, if you ignore the list of options you’re being given.

    • Blackseraph says:

      Do you really think people at Blizzard are so stupid Lions?

      They have been criticized for this very much, I am sure they could tell that this one thing that no one liked at all is best possible explanation why their game does not sell.

    • alilsneaky says:

      I won’t get it.
      Fuck the message, I just don’t want it when I can’t play it on the train or on family visits.
      My budget is limited, plenty of places to spend it, this is not one of them anymore.

      I’m not a child, I can go without my toy or find a new toy.

    • Wulf says:

      Ahahahaha… no. Fuck that. I’ve not touched a Blizzard product since the heart and soul of Blizzard left for ArenaNet and Runic Games, where great games are still being made, as opposed to the dessicated husk of once-Blizzard which seems to be churning out one pile of shit after another.

      Not touching this. I feel for the people who want to play it and won’t be able to, I really do, but personally… I’m not touching this.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      This year, I’ve spent a shamefully large amount of money on PnP RPG books, most of them small press. And a bunch on indie PC games. Almost none on AAA games.

      I’m pretty happy that my money is going towards helping the segments of industry that I like to grow, supporting games I like and often people I like. Buying good stuff and telling your friends is voting with your wallet in a meaningful way.

    • MrNice says:

      I like the argument that D3 is too big to fail, worked well for the economy.

    • James says:

      Nice point, MrNice. Not totally relevant assertions, but I feel they share the same spirit of thoughtlessness and wishful-thinking.

      Everything dies, even big things with lots of money. It just takes longer in some cases.

    • Nameless1 says:

      I’ll do.

    • Nalano says:

      +1, MrNice.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      @Derppy
      No, not really. I don’t think it will ever be properly cracked since all item generation happens server-side. Plus a bunch of other content no doubt. Just like there are no good WoW cracked servers, there won’t be any reasonable d3 as well, since crackers would have to write server side completely from scratch.

    • droid says:

      There is a reason I haven’t bought Starcraft 2 and will not buy the expansions. I am already one of the always online and yet will not be purchasing Diablo 3. As far as quality is concerned they are excellent games well worth purchasing, but the devil is in the details. They will succeed without me but I don’t want to be involved.

    • Nick says:

      Personally I’ll just enjoy the money they saved me, don’t really give a fuck about the game after all I have heard about the mechanics and now this. I have no doubt they’ll be swimming in money from the in game shop where they take a cut, I can only hope other companies don’t follow suit but really there is nothing I or anyone else can do about it.

    • godgoo says:

      I wont be buying Diablo 3 because I never played a Diablo game, it looks dated and janky and I just dont understand the hype.

    • 0p8 says:

      reply fail

  6. acidtestportfolio says:

    hey tim willits

    we already have the thing where the games automatically update

    (it’s called steam)

    • WMain00 says:

      Very true, but guess what, the pa comic is right. People will still buy it despite complaining. The industry can continue to churn out garbage and the masses will still feed upon it.

    • Nalano says:

      People will also not buy it because this isn’t worth it.

      You can say “people will” do whatever. We’re not all one bloc and It’s not written in stone.

    • James says:

      I’m not going to buy it because of the always on part.

      Anyone is free to tell me otherwise, or claim I’ll be in a minority that will be ignored by anyone who matters. The best part about my position is that it doesn’t give a shit about those people.

    • Wulf says:

      Bullshit. There are still some gamers out there with integrity.

    • malkav11 says:

      The Penny Arcade comic is a simplistic, insulting and dismissive waveoff of a genuine issue. Not, I will grant you, one with the gravity of many other issues facing us in the world today, but one which certainly would kill gaming for quite a few people – myself among them – if Blizzard getting away with this signified to other companies (like id) that this was acceptable behavior.

      Tycho’s post does leaven things somewhat, but I bet that side of things isn’t going to get passed around like the strip. Bleh.

  7. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    It’s so amazing when people who want to suck me dry of cash wants to decide what is best for me.

    Go fuck yourselves.

    • Kittim says:

      Sometimes its good to write a post detailing why something is wrong and giving a sensible counterargument.

      This is not one of those times.

      So yep, totally agree.

    • othello says:

      This sums up my feelings exactly.

    • thehollowman says:

      I mean pretty much. This isn’t about quality user experience or blah blah, this is DRM. It’s the same thing Ubisoft do, except Blizzard want to tell us it’s actually to help us this time! Eff that.

    • Lemming says:

      Says everything I’m feeling, certainly.

    • Shuck says:

      It’s not even so much that they’re “decid[ing] what is best for” us (which is bad enough), but that they’re telling us what the circumstances of our lives are (that we “all” have internet all the time). That’s really infuriating.

    • malkav11 says:

      Ubisoft tried to tell us it was for our benefit too. It’s just that no one was buying it.

    • adammtlx says:

      Socialism?

  8. BreadBitten says:

    Stopped caring about the game after this little farce anyway…

    Also, has anyone else noticed that offline play in ‘StarCraft II’ is totally fucked since the last “patch”?

    • Nalano says:

      I didn’t notice because I can’t bring myself to play it.

    • banski83 says:

      Yeah, I was without internet for a fortnight, wanted to play offline SC2, and it came up saying I couldn’t play offline, as I wasn’t online and it couldn’t dial home.

      Well, duh.

    • Azradesh says:

      Worked for me last night without any issues. Sometime it does need you to unplug/disable the connection. Also you need to have been connected to battle.net in the last 30 days.

    • Stormbane says:

      Use a crack when you want to play offline and you do not half to worry about any restrictions.

  9. Askeladd says:

    We should all try to be strong and resist them.

    Too late, I already own steam.

    too weak.. to… *urg*

  10. Hexidecimal says:

    Yeah Steam does that already so… It also has an offline mode. The reasons they keep throwing out for this keep getting more absurd. There is no good reason for this at all.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Steam’s “offline mode” has a big Catch-22. It assumes you’ll know in advance when your service won’t be available, because you can’t go into that mode unless you’re already online. That’s nice if you’re traveling with a laptop, but it’s no help at all when your Internet provider suddenly goes dark for a few hours, or half a day, without warning. Steam locks up just as tight as a game with a constant connection DRM.

    • megalomania says:

      You don’t need to know in advance; if you’re not connected to the internet and you start steam it will automatically go into offline mode.

    • Gar says:

      @ Zenicetus

      That’s why I always keep Steam in offline mode unless I decide I want to download/install a new game or am aware of a very helpful patch. An easy solution to your “Catch 22″ problem

    • BarneyL says:

      I find the biggest problem with Steam’s off-line mode is that is doesn’t work and hasn’t ever across the five different PCs I’ve tried to use it on.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve used Steams offline mode on every PC I’ve touched in recent years, including a laptop from 2003 with wonky wi-fi. If it can’t connect, no problem.

    • James says:

      @BarneyL

      I think you’re doing it wrong.

    • Kaira- says:

      In my case the offline-mode has been a bit wonky – works sometimes and sometimes doesn’t. It would seem that offline-mode doesn’t work if my computer is connected to my home network, which then again isn’t connected to internet.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Gar: Staying offline except for patch updates is an option, but you’re still dealing with Murphy’s Law and human fallibility. Back when I had a much shakier connection than I do now, I wouldn’t always remember to go into offline mode as a precaution after grabbing a patch update or playing online multiplayer. And of course, that’s the time that Murphy will kick in, and leave me with a dropped connection and no way to launch Steam.

    • wererogue says:

      Yeah, you’re screwed if you want to go into offline mode when the game you want to play knows that it has an update already.

      I still don’t get why you can’t play the old version while it’s downloading the new, even in *online* mode.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      Fun note from the Steam client beta:
      - Fixed offline mode not working if there was no remembered password.

      They do still patch offline mode every once in a while to try to fix things, at least.

    • gwathdring says:

      I’ve never had problems getting it to work. The only issues I’ve had are with games that always try to store information in the cloud. In some games, profile and save game information will appear to be working only for all of my progress to vanish when I’m next in online mode. At least … I think that’s because they always want to store information in the cloud. I’m not actually sure. Wait a moment … that happened with Fallout 3 and Arkham. Is this a GFWL thing? I should test it more systematically and figure out which games do it.

      I should probably also ask Steam support about that, it’s the only reason I don’t use offline mode more often.

    • Lemming says:

      if it helps, I’ve had problems with offline-mode on Steam.

      Turns out it doesn’t like it if it was already trying to download a patch for a game then you go into offline mode and try and launch the game.

      If you are going into offline mode with everything sitting there idle though, it should be fine.

    • Kamos says:

      I’ve had trouble with Steam’s offline mode for a very long time. In fact, I never bought a game there until it suddenly started working for me.

      I don’t know why it doesn’t work for everyone. When you tell people offline mode doesn’t work, they don’t even understand what you’re talking about.

      I’ve heard (and this might be wrong) that one of the reasons why it won’t work sometimes is because you’re connected to a router and somehow Steam detects that you have a connection to some other device (even if you’re indeed not connected to the internet) and it tries to go online… and tries… and tries… forever. So maybe pulling the plug helps? I really don’t know.

    • daf says:

      @Hexidecimal Steam updates games by replacing the game files with the new versions as it downloads them, so your game has files from two different versions as the update is running as as such would likely crash or cause save corruption if you tried to run it, new update system is supposed to download a set of changes and only apply them after you exit a game which should improve on the current system but I’m yet to see a game use it.

      @wererogue you can go to the game properties and enable “don’t keep this game updated” to try and avoid that issue.

      @Kamos you got most of it right, steam is pretty stubborn when it comes to trying to connect, so if you have your pc connected to some kind network with a router were the internet is down it will try “forever”, best way is to disable the network card temporarily to launch steam or use the less technical approach of unplugging the cable, without any network interface up steam will prompt for offline mode immediately, just be sure to enable “remember my login” before you do it.

    • Mattressi says:

      The secret to getting Steam’s offline mode to work is to take the ethernet cable out of your computer (or the router – either end is fine). Even if you have no internet connection up and/or have taken the phone/internet cable out of your router/the wall, just having your PC connected to a router/modem is enough to make offline mode not work. That’s what my problem was for ages. Once you’ve taken the ethernet cable out, offline works perfectly. Also, once you’re in offline mode, you can reconnect the ethernet cable (so you can see when your internet’s back up or so that you can LAN).

  11. WolVenom says:

    “Imagine picking up a game and it’s automatically updated.”
    Or imagine Steam that gives you automatic updates and also allows offline play.

  12. herschel says:

    Disturbing. Veeeery disturbing.

  13. jti says:

    The worst thing about this is that people want Diablo 3 so much that they take any kind of crap just to have it. I’ve seen it in the comments here and I guess almost everyone will forget “the ban” as soon as the game comes out. Not me though, if all big games become like that I just stop playing them. You have to draw the line somewhere.

    • briktal says:

      Gamers already accepted it with Guild Wars.

    • Kaira- says:

      Wait, are you implying that Diablo 3 is comparable to a MMORPG?

    • James says:

      @briktal

      No, they didn’t. I’ll let you figure out why that is on your own.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Seriously. Guildwars only became even possible to play solo in the last couple years – it was always intended to be a group – and online – only affair through the first couple campaigns.

      Whatever, not going to bother with more than that…

    • gwathdring says:

      Why do people keep comparing Diablo III to Guild Wars? It’s uncanny … I swear I’ve seen three different people mention Guild Wars specifically. They’re completely different games.

  14. Daiv says:

    Surely the automatic online updater is but a figment of this future-man’s fevered imagination.

  15. Roi Danton says:

    Quite amazing that bloke He wants my money and tells me that I as a staunch single player person have to be always connected. Well, fuck you.

    Steam has at least an offline mode.

  16. Dominic White says:

    I have an all-singing, all-dancing 20meg line. I can pull down multiple HD video streams simultaneously. I can download multi-gig games from Steam in under an hour.

    It STILL futzes out a couple of times a day. So fuck you, Blizzard, I’m not buying your game because you assume that everyone has a 100% stable internet connection. Also YOU’VE ADDED REGION LOCKING TO PC GAMING WHAT THE HELL!?

    (Also, why is no site actually making a fuss about that? Have we really given up on an international internet?)

    • Unaco says:

      I have a (comparatively shitty) 2 meg line, ADSL. It also drops out at times… sometimes only for a minute, sometimes longer… up to 20-30 minutes. And sometimes, it drops out for half a day, maybe even a whole day.

      And that’s just my connection… What about their servers? Are they going to be 100% reliable, always on, from now into perpetuity? People still play Diablo II (I know people that still play Diablo I), 11 years after it was released. Will the servers and all the functionality still be there in 10 years time? And if they patch the online connection requirement out, will the ‘full game experience’ still be available… they keep telling us how great the always connected stuff is.

    • mihor_fego says:

      As a former WoW player I can guarantee you that the servers will not be up 100% of the time. Every time there was a patch, hotfix or random login server fuckup, there were issues that lasted from minutes to hours. Remember, this is a game that people actually pay monthly for, which should mean optimal services. What about a game that isn’t supported monthly by millions of subscriptions?

    • zergrush says:

      Yep, that’s the real problem to me, as most of the people I want to play Diablo with are on different regions. Having everyone buy the same US / Euro version would be an easy way to get around it, but it’s simply a ridiculous and unjustified restriction to have in the first place.

      I’m hoping Path of Exile and / or Grim Dawn are awesome enough that we end up not wanting to get DIII anyway.

    • gwathdring says:

      Forced patches and connection requirements do make planned obsolescence possible with computer games. Want to sell a new game? Kill to old servers. Problem solved. Same with online multiplayer, I suppose, but most of the games I play are pretty good about legacy support. I’m worried about BF2 though. It’s had a good run, but EA seems to like shutting down multiplayer.

    • malkav11 says:

      I personally care only a bit about the online requirement in terms of worrying about my internet going out or playing on the go. I should be able to play it under both circumstances and it’s not at all acceptable to behave otherwise. But ultimately I don’t anticipate regularly having an issue with that. It’s the way that I would -have- to have access to their servers to play. It’s a foolproof killswitch to prevent people from ever playing the game again if Blizzard should ever feel like taking them down. It’s also vulnerable to hackers (I’ve lost a WoW account to a hacker getting it banned and Blizzard refused to even consider my case), arbitrary bans, or bans that have a legitimate basis in multiplayer bad behavior but shouldn’t affect one’s ability to play by oneself at all. I honestly can’t think of a single advantage for players that could possibly be worth the potential to lose the ability to play at all.

  17. HermitUK says:

    Reminds me of Carmack saying Rage wasn’t going to have dedicated servers on the PC two years ago, and that MW2 was going to pioneer that and make that the norm on PC. And while it’s a fairly common feature of console ports now, pretty much every P2P game (Save MW2 as it has the player numbers) has basically died multiplayer-wise on the PC. Likewise, D3 is too much of a juggernaut to be massively damaged by this, but if other titles attempt to follow suit they’ll suffer for it.

  18. Julio Biason says:

    It’s amazing how this is bringing a lot of weasel words from developers.

    Blizzard can’t stop saying “you reached level 20 or 30 or 40 and decided to play with your friends. Then you have to start over and that’s bad”.

    Now id says that “Imagine picking up a game and it’s automatically updated”.

    Why can’t have a little dignity and say out loud “It’s our DRM.” And it’s obvious that Tim Willits means “Yeah, if Diablo 3 is a success, then it means everyone can use that DRM.”

    Weasel words. Everybody someone from the game industry says anything about Diablo 3 “always on”, it’s weasel words.

    • MrWolf says:

      It’s worse than just DRM. It’s Blizzard forcing players who will only play single player to use the “Auction House” where you can spend cold, hard, Real World currency on items. With the always-on connection, they can pull the plug on your account and your character if you try to use a trainer or equipment editor to tweak your character out. Of course they’d prefer you to buy gear in their auction house where they keep a % of every purchase. This is the same company that made millions on a $25 mount (http://us.blizzard.com/store/details.xml?id=1100000942).

    • smoke.tetsu says:

      He has a gerbil face so more like Gerbil words than weasel words ;)

    • Azradesh says:

      Please, they aren’t forcing you to use any AH, but yes, they sure as hell want to tempt you. I sure this is the biggest reason, rather then DRM.

    • Urthman says:

      Blizzard can’t stop saying “you reached level 20 or 30 or 40 and decided to play with your friends. Then you have to start over and that’s bad”.

      This is such a bizarre talking point for a game in which randomized dungeons and endless replayability are practically the core mechanic.

      If starting over with a new character in D3 is a chore instead of a delight, then I’d say they’ve completely failed to deliver a game worthy of the name Diablo.

    • Shark says:

      Yeah in that light it sounds like Diablo 3 will be a grindfest without replay value

  19. Evoc says:

    Im sure there’ll be some sort of offline crack, its sadly what some people will have to resort to to be able to play : /

  20. bluebogle says:

    I keep hearing soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan complaining about these always on setups. A lot of them play PC games while on break, but don’t have anything like always on connections. It’s just spitting in their faces with this stuff.

    • WPUN says:

      Pass on the meme: Why does Blizzard hate our troops?

    • James says:

      They don’t hate them, they just don’t care about them.

      “Blizzard doesn’t care about our troops.”

      Still, I’m torn…the more of them playing games, the less of them actively firing real guns, missiles or whatever deadly shit they have (at any given point in time). On the other hand, I don’t think it should fall on game developers to distract killers from killing.

      If you were offended by this comment, please let me know, as your opinion is important to me.

  21. markcocjin says:

    Translation:

    If people love your game well enough, you can force them to do what you want them to and they will thank you for it. Because we know what’s best for you all so just shut the f*ck up and eat it.

    • Nalano says:

      Eat it.

      Off the floor.

      After I step on it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It worked for Valve to use Half-Life 2 to get everyone onto Steam.

      Before the apologists show up, bear in mind that early Steam didn’t even half half of the “bonus” stuff like screenshots it does now—IIRC even the social friends malarky was badly broken on release for a long time. It was pretty much just DRM and autopatching, and autopatching predates Steam.

    • gwathdring says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. Which is why it was a very long time before I bought my first non-valve steam game. I played Counter Strike (original and source) and I played Half-Life 2, and those only after I’d tried Steam out on friend’s computers and at LAN cafés and found it not to be too kludgy or restricting for my needs. It wasn’t until Mass Effect first went on a major discount sale that I bought my first non-valve steam title.

      Steam had plenty of issues, but it didn’t require a constant connection. It has since become an incredibly usable and friendly platform for thousands of games.

      It’s a nice little anecdote, but it doesn’t change the issue: players like being able to have access to their games on the go. Blizzard and Wilits are implying that gamers have some sort of an obligation both to themselves and the industry to get over this little fantasy that games need to be playable offline so we can all move forward. This is ridiculous. The Internet certainly deserves a centralized place in our society, but we also need to be careful. Private companies still control most people’s access to the Internet. Most American households don’t have access to a reliable, speedy, always-on connection–and I assume the same is true in many parts of the world. The sorts of wireless connections so many devices are using are incredibly insecure. And yet we’re moving towards movies, music, books, games and even basic software that requires a consistent Internet connection. We are trying to force a technological revolution we aren’t ready for.

      Now I should probably scale back a bit to get on topic. I play games offline quite a lot. I have wholly embraced digital distribution, and certain types of on-line authentication. But a good half of the time I play games, I am either entirely offline or using a weak, unstable, and insecure wireless connection I won’t trust for anything more than webcomics–let alone my entire Steam catalog. The rest of the time I’m at home or school with a stable, speedy, always on connection or a stable, relatively secure wireless connection. Relatively.

      I don’t want to play online games most of the time, and the reasons for keeping most single-player games online do not interest or convince me in the slightest.

    • Nalano says:

      Hey, LionsPhil, do you work for EA?

      No?

      Then stop flakking for ‘em.

    • Kaira- says:

      @ Nalano

      Whut.

    • Nalano says:

      Just a bunch of “Just accept it; you know you’re addicted anyway” posts to reply to.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I have no idea what you’re on about.

      Even if you’ve pulled some notion that I think people should buy into this crap out of thin air, that’d surely be being on Actiblizzard’s payroll, not EA’s.

    • Nalano says:

      Well, to be fair, they probably have enough money to simply hire us all.

      Hey, that’d be a great way to resurrect their cache with gamers: Creating a whole wealth of jobs by mass-hiring PC fans!

    • Kamos says:

      I used steam when it first came out and it was awful. Really, really, REALLY awful. Heavy, no options, buggy as hell…

      Later on I tried steam again but I couldn’t use it. Why? The offline mode was not reliable. In order to enter the offline mode, it tried to get online (herp derp). This only happened to me, it seems, since all my friends were puzzled by this. Still, it was a long time before it would work for me. I didn’t buy a single game from Steam before offline mode worked right. That’s how much I value offline mode.

  22. crinnycow says:

    Haven’t the pros that Tim Willits mention been a staple of modern PC games for the past, I don’t know, 7 years? They can be applied IF the gamer is online but should not FORCE the gamer to be online.

  23. Zenicetus says:

    Classic example of someone who lives inside a high-tech bubble, constantly surrounded by stable high bandwidth connections so they’re blind to the problem. Either that, or it’s just someone willing to shed a significant part of the potential customer base for their games, in return for ironclad copy protection. Probably a little of both.

  24. Adekan says:

    I honestly don’t understand all the rage and angst about this decision. Of the announced D3 changes/additions this one did not even manage a murmur on my radar. Not only will it provide better security against hacks, which as anyone who played D2 online for more than 5 minutes can attest to were pretty prevalent, but it’s something you probably won’t even notice. Personally, I never played D2 offline for more than a few minutes.

    Even though i’ve lost a lot of faith in ActiBlizzard since the downward spiral of WoW casualisation I still plan to pick this game up at launch, just because of the strength of D2′s multiplayer, which was honestly more of an afterthought than a fleshed out thing for them. I can’t wait to see what they do with it, with all of the things that they now know.

    • MrWolf says:

      You’ll sure as shit notice it when you’re in the middle of gang-raping Diablo and you kick your Ethernet cable out of the wall in excitement.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Think about 10 years from now. When a game you really like but wasn’t that successful has closed its servers down. You stumble across the disc (lol yeah right who uses discs but the point remains) and think: “boy, I’d really like to play this game I love and paid for, too bad [SCHLOCKY PUBLISHER #42] closed down their servers which of course had all my data and the only way to play the game held in its fickle techno-bosom.”

    • Adekan says:

      Given that Blizzard is still; to this day even, running the Diablo II Battle.net servers, I honestly don’t think that argument holds water. Hell, I think the D1 Battle.net servers might still be running even.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      So basically you’re saying Diablo 3 won’t be successful. Or that the online-always thing won’t be hacked 3 days before the game comes out, making any future inability to activate the product completely moot?

    • Rhin says:

      @MrWolf:
      How is that different from Diablo 2? I get dropped from the game just as well, unless I’m playing single-player. And Diablo 2 single-player characters were already lower-class citizens.

    • DK says:

      “How is that different from Diablo 2? I get dropped from the game just as well, unless I’m playing single-player, in which case I’m not “gang-raping Diablo with a group of friends”

      Big shock – there is NO single-player in Diablo 3 anymore. It’s Multiplayer you’re playing without anyone else. You can be sitting at home, raping Diablo on your own, and boom it drops you, because you can’t connect to….who again? Diablo? Did he have to buy his copy of Diablo 3 as well? What happens if his internet hiccups?

    • karry says:

      Pesonally, i never played Diablo 2 online for more than a few hours.

      We had a self-made neighbour network for me and 5 friends, and there we played lots of stuff, but online ? Fuck that !

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      @Adekan

      Of course it holds water. For every Diablo backed by a mega-giant, there would be dozens of other games from companies that folded or no longer felt like supporting their product was in their best interests.

    • Azradesh says:

      I’m sorry, but an offline *option* has no bearing on online security. And some of us don’t give a flying monkey’s arse about multiplayer Diablo.

    • malkav11 says:

      Sure, Blizzard might run Diablo III servers until the cow level comes home. Maybe. If I were going to trust a single company to both survive for many decades longer and continue to support servers for their older games for their entire lifespan, it would probably be Blizzard. They succeed big and they’ve got a proven track record of that kind of support. But the past does not guarantee the future, and there’s no reason I should need to place that trust in them to begin with when singleplayer games have operated perfectly well for decades without running off company servers.

      And make no mistake, for many people Diablo has always been a singleplayer experience. It certainly was for me.

  25. Daniel Klein says:

    This change is inevitable. Eventually, technology will catch up and we WILL be online from anywhere–in the army, while in Spain, in our trains, on our planes, even in a hospital for the insane(s)!

    With apologies to Dr. Seuss.

    • Dominic White says:

      See, I’ll have no problem with always-on DRM when I can actually be always on. Except that technology isn’t quite up to that level yet, so I think I’ll just stick to other games until then.

    • Mman says:

      “Eventually”

      The important part, I think “always online” games will probably become the norm at some point, but I think it’ll happen naturally when Internet connections become so solid and ubiquitous it’s not even something people have to think about; that’s not anytime soon (and, barring some revolution, by “soon” I mean 30+ years).

    • malkav11 says:

      I will be fine with always-on DRM when high speed, 100% uptime internet permeates every air molecule on the planet and every game that uses it is permanently hosted on nonpartisan servers owned collectively by the human race as a whole without any way to turn them off or ban people from accessing them. Also with 100% uptime.

      Somehow, I’m not seeing that ever happening.

  26. TehMadness says:

    Fuck, I’d love for a permanent connection. But I don’t have one, whether it’s offline whilst we move or because I’m moving about on a laptop. As soon as you start throwing in stuff like this, people are gonna get fucked off. I’ve never been a proponent of piracy in regards to games… but I’m starting to think they have the right idea.

    Hell, I might buy the game for the license, and the pirate the game to get rid of the horrible DRM.

    Or that would have been my tactic for another game. Seems they’ve found a way around that too. Yay for inconveniences!

    • Jumwa says:

      Ugh, I hate it when people say they will buy a game to ease their conscience then pirate it anyways. You’re voting with your money. You’re telling the makers and publishers of that game, in the only way they understand, that you approve of what they did, and here’s a butt load of cash for it.

      Vote with your wallets people. If this issue affects you or means anything to you at all, just vote with your wallets. It’s the only thing a company understands. Everything else is just us venting or, worse, encouraging them.

  27. bigblack says:

    Huge iD fan, here. Been playing their games since DOOM, and I’m really looking forward to RAGE.
    To Tim Willits: if you were to try pulling this required-connection shit with an iD game, it would be the first iD title I refused to purchase, and the last time I’d consider doing business with your once-fine company until it’s gone. Yes yes, I’m sure you’ll not weep long and hard over this single lost sale while tripping over your other millions on the way to the bank, but it will still be true.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It won’t be one lost sale. I make two and there will be more.

      And I also own just about every id Software game released so far as well.

  28. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Fuck absolutely everything about his statement.

    NO ONE WANTS THE PC TO BECOME A CLOSED PLATFORM.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The people who develop software for the PC do.

      Fear the App Store, the Web Application, and the always-on DRM. They are the tools of those who want to undo the personal computer revolution, and put us back in the shackles of someone else’s mainframe.

      Repent!

    • James says:

      It’s more the people that sell/publish/fund games that want this, not the developers. Some of the former won’t want it and some of the later will, but that’s a good generalization, given their separate and distinct interests (in most cases).

  29. Fazer says:

    This just proves how disconnected from reality Id developers are.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      An interview with one of the founders of Id proved that? That’s pretty amazing.

      Edit: I swear it said Blizzard no less than 30 seconds ago.

    • Shuck says:

      It’s not just ID, it’s a common developer problem that they assume they’re 100% representative of their audience. Hey, they’re always in front of an internet-connected PC, so everyone else must be!

    • Dervish says:

      I would not call Tim Willits one of the “founders” of id, though he is certainly an important figure in the company’s history.

    • karry says:

      “he is certainly an important figure in the company’s history.”

      He was lead designer on Doom 3. I think that tells exactly how uncreative and dull that guy’s thinking is.

    • StuffedCabbage says:

      “Important figure in the company’s history”…I think he’s a fucking idiot.
      I know thats not productive to the argument, but I feel much better.

  30. felisc says:

    … i liked him better in masters of doom.

  31. Jason Moyer says:

    I’m only connected just long enough to complain about being online.
    Actually, I hate the always-online thing, too, but whatever. If people had just accepted the perfectly reasonable and nearly invisible securerom one-time activation/never-need-the-disk-again solution that EA was using a few years ago maybe we wouldn’t have to deal with this garbage. Or maybe it would be worse.

    Oh, and Id, I can imagine having my games automatically update without having to do anything. It’s called Steam, and doesn’t require me to be online constantly.

    • ankh says:

      So you think they stopped using Securom because people didnt accept it? Whats to stop people from not accepting this always on shit? Doesnt make sense to me.

  32. Teddy Leach says:

    “Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected.”

    WHAT ABOUT WHEN MY CONNECTION CRAPS OUT YOU MORON?! WHY DON’T *YOU* GO AND MAKE ISP’S ACCEPT THE FACT THAT THEY CAN’T TURN YOU OFF OR HAVE CONNECTION PROBLEMS?!

    That feels much better. Sod it, I wasn’t going to buy it anyway.

  33. Turin Turambar says:

    Pity he doesn’t have good reasons to back up the argument. The only reasons he does have already can be done without a mandatory always-on system.

  34. AlternatePFG says:

    Honestly, wasn’t too interested in Diablo 3 anyway. I do like action-RPG’s but it never really caught my interest. Now I’m certainly not buying it, if only because this gives other developers the idea that it’s okay to pull shit like this. Outright boycotting is silly though, an official boycott is going to end up like the MW2 and L4D2 boycotts.

  35. Freud says:

    I’m not all that bothered about Diablo III requiring players being online. I always considered it a multi-player game. And yes, I realize D2 a decade ago was a single player/multi player game.

    But when single player games force it, it serves no purpose other than introducing another possibility for customers getting screwed.

  36. Demiath says:

    So far I’ve not heard a single “always on”-positive developer even so much as briefly touch upon the reality of the actual Internet access which most human beings are stuck with (as opposed to the ideal world which these developers pretend exists). I for one will probably never be too bothered with always on requirements – since my connection is very reliable and fast and since I never play PC games while away from my home – but even for me it’s painfully obvious that a constant online policy simply cannot be reconciled with today’s technical infrastructure.

  37. ShadowBlade says:

    Hmm.. I’ll probably buy and play D3 simply because it looks like something i’d like (especially after D2). And since there are not that many really good games to choose from. I try to look at the game as a game, despite whatever the publisher/biz guys put in the path to obstruct it. This stuff isn’t very pleasant though..

    But, as a developer I wouldn’t put this kind of thing in a game. I wish the game players in the company made the decisions and not the lawyers/biz dudes who have never played a game.

    • Shuck says:

      I’m sure the decision was made by developers at Blizz for very practical reasons (they wanted people to be able to bring their solo-play characters into groups without cheating being an issue and being always-connected was their best solution); they just didn’t think about the audience being any different from themselves. They assumed that everyone would be in front of a PC at home, with internet access, all the time. Which is ironic, since the Diablo 1/2 developers actually considered the fact that the audience wasn’t necessarily hard-core gamers like they were, and that was a factor in the two games’ success. These developers also didn’t consider how it would look to players: the always-on seems like a form of DRM (which it is, obviously, but probably not by design), and the cash auction house seems like a money grab, but they were probably just thinking about how they had to provide support for all the people who had been buying D2 items off Ebay, and that it would be less of a headache to just do the cash transfers themselves.

    • ShadowBlade says:

      As someone who grew up playing either SP or MP in LAN (never online), this does suck. I’m sure i’ll like the game, but gone are the days when you can just play a game with your small selection of friends in the same room :(

      Also, it was nice being able to mod some elements of the game for you LAN play (doubling the number of monsters for instance).

    • Shuck says:

      I played a fair amount of D1 and D2, and never once played it online. It looks like I’ll be giving D3 a miss.

  38. Kill_The_Drive says:

    I’m so going to download Diablo 3.

  39. metalangel says:

    Your “interests” as a company do not ever supersede those of your customers. Without customers, you don’t have a company any more.

    It has been suggested on Eurogamer that this persistent and brazen gouging and mistreatment of gamers is going to bring about a second crash. Look at THQ: MX vs ATV canned, after the recent installment failed to sell. It felt like half the game was missing, waiting to be purchased as DLC.

  40. Persus-9 says:

    I don’t have much of a problem with Always On coming in at some point, connections are getting stabler and there are other games I can play offline or books I can read when my internet goes down. However I have a big problem with this sort of constantly updated disposable gaming that Willits is pushing.

    I like to own games. I like to have games that don’t change. One of the things that pisses me off about Steam is the fact they can update your games and never let you have the product you original bought back.

    I treat games as art and it pisses me off when after I’ve bought their work the artist feels they have the right to break into my house and add a few more brush strokes. There haven’t been many examples as yet but I can think of at least three: (1) Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble updated the art for their characters and in my opinion far worse. (2) Far more famously, Popcap removed a certain zombie from Plants vs Zombies because Micheal Jackson’s estate was threatening to sue them. (3) Terraria fixed a “bug” a few weeks back which increased the enemy spawn rate and made the whole game far more combat orientated and less to my taste. I’d far rather they couldn’t do this. I’d far rather I could keep my games just as they are if I like them the way they are and not have them automatically patched into something new that I don’t like as much.

    It seems to me Tim Willits is promoting a view of games as fluid constantly updating and ultimately disposable things which I’m diametrically opposed to. Fine multiplayer games are like that because relying on other people makes them that way but when it comes to single player games I want to be able to go back in ten years time and play the exact same game I originally did if I choose to. Always online, constantly updating and ultimately entirely in the hands of the publishers is exactly what I don’t want.

    • wererogue says:

      I dream of a world where Steam is really a package management system, and where people can leave comments on each version so you can browse for one that suits you.

    • Urthman says:

      I’d love to try playing the original TF2.

  41. Vinraith says:

    Yep, I fully expect to have to stop buying AAA games altogether at some point. Fortunately, you idiots aren’t the only show in town anymore, Tim.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I really feel like I’m on borrowed time, like the next year of mainstream gaming might be the last I can support, or the next two years. It might end up being a lot longer than that of course, but as everything moves online-only, toward social networking and toward complete corporate control I will have to start buying less and less.

      Least I will get new Deus Ex, Bioshock, Elder Scrolls and Mass Effect games.

    • Vinraith says:

      In compensation, though, I really do see the indie market picking up the slack more and more. Fewer and fewer of the games I care about in a given year are coming out of the AAA publishers these days, more and more of them are through smaller publishers and direct-from-developer independents. I really think that, for a lot of us at least, the AAA’s are just going to DRM and Facebook themselves right out of relevance.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Spot on Vinraith!

      I feel this way about pretty much every industry these days. Books, movies, comics, music, games – hell cars and fashion – most have thriving indie scenes through which passionate creators can get their stuff directly to passionate customers. I think TV is the only industry with a good, creative mainstream scene right now…

      Sure, there are still some good mainstream products coming out, and there’s nothing wrong with supporting those products. But there are so many amazing indie options out there these days, I really don’t feel like I’m missing much by passing over the crap that the big corporations are trying to feed us.

      We just need to make sure we get enough money to the good guys to keep them producing new work. The huge multinational media corporations can keep pushing their shit all they want, and the majority of people will buy it, but it doesn’t matter as long as we still have options.

      That is, don’t give up, fight the power, yadda yadda peace brother woooo.

    • Nalano says:

      Preach it, brother Vinraith!

      Damn, I haven’t seen a Hollywood movie in a theater in a long while, and I don’t miss ‘em. (I think the last was the first Hangover, and that’s only ‘cuz the theater doubled as a bar.) I haven’t bought the album of a mainstream musician in a long time, and I don’t miss ‘em either. Somehow I still watch movies and listen to music.

      These few companies do not own the media. They are not a cabal. We do not need to support them.

    • Burning Man says:

      All this is further reinforced by the absolute crap shown off at E3, where the only major reveal was….. *drumroll* Halo 4, Aside from a rather unnecessary reboot of a much-loved franchise, done purely out of greed, every other AAA title shown was a sequel. Same old, same old.

      A few mainstream games still show some promise. Arkham City and Skyrim are still on my radar, especially since they subscribe to the “50$ Free-to-Play scheme” pioneered by Serious Sam 3, where you pay 50$ and then are free to play the game. It’s a shame not too many other companies see the value of this revolutionary strategy.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The one problem I have with that is RPGs. It’s really hard to make a good RPG on a small budget. Age of Decadence has been in development forever and Double Bear looks like its years away from progress. That pretty much just leaves Jeff Vogel and a bunch of RPG maker games. Don’t get me wrong, both are fun but maybe not competitive with AAA studios.

  42. Stellar Duck says:

    Why not just have a launcher before the game starts that tells you if there is an update? Then you can get it if you feel like it. And if the computer is offline then the launcher just doesn’t check. I could have sworn that I’ve seen such a system in action. And by all means, when you sign on to a multiplayer component, then you can see what version I have. For my single player game, I don’t need that. I can manage it myself, thank you very much.

    Besides, it’s not like developers these days deliver amazing support. I have plenty of games that really could do with a patch to sort out some stuff. Funny how it doesn’t happen.

    And whatever he and ActiBlizzion says, my connection is not stable. My router dies from time to time and my ISP throws a fit every so often. I’d hate for that to happen in a single player game.

  43. Kefren says:

    I hate where this is going. Many people say Diablo 3 will sell anyway – not to me. There are loads of Diablo-like RPGs on GOG, and I still haven’t played the one’s I’ve bought in their sales. They are DRM free, play offline, perfect. I didn’t buy Starcraft 2 because of all the accounts nonsense and lack of LAN, I just play Starcraft 1 regularly instead.

    I have to say, I don’t even want autoupdating. By the time I get round to playing a game (usually a few years after release) I just download the latest patch. Or in some cases avoid it. I don’t like autoupdate when it changes aspects of the game that I liked. E.g. I play the original Plants vs Zombies with Michael Jackson in. I prefer Portal without the changed ending.

  44. titan13 says:

    I wonder how much data this DRM will use up because i’m on a 2GB a month dongle plan (I cant get a landline internet connection where I am staying). That and my connection sometimes getting very laggy means I dont know if im going to be able to play this. Also it being auto updated really isn’t a big deal imho, I never minded w8ing for Diablo 2 or warcraft 3 to update. Its a very small inconvenience. But it might actually stop me from getting the game…

    • iniudan says:

      2GB a month ? Damn, sorry for you, but I have to say it, that suck.

      I admit I would be unable to work out on an internet connection with such limitation these day, to the point I would think I might just be better without an internet connection at all.

  45. UW says:

    I find this incredibly annoying. It’s one thing being honest about this and saying you want to promote “always connected” DRM in order to force people to pay for your game, but to imply that this will in some way improve the gamer’s experience is absolutely ludicrous and insulting. If it were for a reason as simple as that, you could have it as an option.

    “Imagine picking up a game and it’s automatically updated. Or there’s something new you didn’t know about, and you didn’t have to click away. It’s all automatically there.”

    Oh, yeah. Because always-connected DRM is totally requirement for that feature. You couldn’t just have the game detect when you’re online and do all that shit, and otherwise just not do it and let you play the game anyway.

  46. DuckSauce says:

    My “want” mode is not on for this game.
    Thus:
    “Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected”

    Not me, keep thinking you’re so amazing in a world filled with litteraly thousands of videogames, I don’t think I’ll be the only one not buying this and not accepting “always on”.

    I don’t think I’ll ever accept “always on” even if I did have a game that has it, because there will be a time I won’t be on. Then. RAGE!

  47. Rhin says:

    Diablo 2 did it very well in theory — just separate the characters into online-only realm battle.net accounts and anything-goes single-player / LAN / open battle.net accounts. The “open” system would become a wasteland of hacked and edited items and characters but the battle.net ladders would be insulated from that.

    • Zarunil says:

      But if they allow offline-mode with hacks and item editors, they lose bazillions in revenue from their cash shop!

      Forcing online-mode has little to nothing to do with wanting a better user experience. It’s all about wanting to control the consumer:

      #1: DRM. This one is obvious.
      #2: No stat- or item hacks. All items and stats have to go through Blizzard’s servers, meaning far more people with more money than brains will inevitably use their cash shop or buy from the player-driven auction shop (in which Blizzard takes a cut, IIRC) to gain an advantage.

      They could have made online connectivity an option. They deliberatly chose not to, hoping it would raise their profits.

  48. Dawngreeter says:

    Fuck him and fuck this.

    Yes, I know this isn’t very productive. I don’t care.

    • ankh says:

      Yeah I agree, fuck them.

      Personally I’m going to solve this problem by pirating this game.

  49. ResonanceCascade says:

    More like Tim Witless, AMIRITE?

    I understand why this is appealing to developers, but it’s basically just another unnecessary tether. If Tim and Blizzard hadn’t noticed, video games and computers are becoming increasingly mobile, not increasingly locked in to place.

  50. g33kz0rd says:

    Like SC2, they are not cutting all the “Playing while off “”feature”"”.

    You will sure can, with a entire new offline profile. ( or I hope so )

    • Azradesh says:

      I’m afraid not, they’ve said very clearly that there is no offline mode of *any* kind. At all. Ever.